Blizzard warning issued for western Minn.

5:43 PM, Feb 18, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Wind, blowing snow and reduced visibilities can all be expected just west of the Twin Cities through late Monday night, and the Minnesota State Patrol says the results of these conditions have already proven deadly.

A Blizzard Warning is in effect until midnight for Redwood Falls, Willmar and Alexandria continuing to the west. 

Minnesota State Patrol spokesman Sergeant Jesse Grabow says westbound I-94 was shut down near Barnsville early Monday afternoon after a fatal crash near milepost 22. Two people are dead and one seriously injured in the accident, which involved three vehicles. Grabow says the poor visibility likely was a factor.

The Patrol closed the westbound lanes and diverted traffic so investigators could reconstruct the crash and move the vehicles in blizzard conditions.

As of 1 p.m. Grabow says troopers have responded to 36 crashes, 13 of them rollovers. Two people have died, eight have been injured and one state trooper squad hit.

MnDOT is advising no travel in parts of northwest and west-central Minnesota due to reduced visibility and whiteout conditions.

Conditions don't appear like they'll get better anytime soon. Wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph, combined with light snow, will create visibilities under 1/4 mile at times in the warned area.  Snow accumulations are going to be light, generally an inch or two.

A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect for areas just west of the metro including St. Cloud, Hutchinson, and Makato. 

Light snow combined with gusty northwest winds will produce blowing snow and reduced visibilities.  Blizzard conditions are not expected in the advised region, but motorists are still advised to travel with caution due to the strong winds.

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